Selections, July 2006

A selection of archaeology-related books, new to the catalogue of Select Books, a specialised publisher and retailer of books pertaining to Southeast Asia. For ordering info, please visit the Select Books website.

039046
Zheng He And Maritime Asia. National Library Board. Sg. 2005. 156pp. pb $34.65 (An exhibition celebrating Zheng He was held at the new headquarters of the National Library of Singapore from July 2005 to February 2006. It was organised to mark the occasion of the Library’s move into new premises, and last year being the 600th anniversary of Zheng He’s first voyage, the exhibition also recognised the parallel between the importance of Zheng He’s maritime legacy and the importance of maritime trade to Singapore. This book was published to accompany the exhibition. Attractively designed, it is generously illustrated with maps, drawings and photographs. The illuminating text provides an overview of the early history of Chinese maritime trade before going on to explore the life and times of Zheng He and the countries he had sojourned to in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Africa. Bilingual in English and Chinese.)

038785
Ancient India, Land Of Mystery [Lost Civilisations]. Brown, Dale M et al (eds.). Gb. 2005. 168pp. hc $41.95 (20th century excavations at some 1000 sites offered new knowledge of the often virtually unknown prehistoric and early people of India. In this extensively illustrated volume accounts are given of the archaeologists’ work and of the sometimes very sophisticated societies which have been revealed. Part 1 is on the Harappan civilization in the Indus Valley of 2600-1800 BCE; Part 2 deals with the Vedic and Epic Ages 1800-600BCE and the warlike Indo-Aryans who settled in the Indus and upper Ganges valleys; Part 3 describes the pre-Mauryan and Mauryan Period 600-100 BCE which was greatly influenced by Buddhism founded by Sautama around 500 BCE; Part 4 looks at the kingdoms of the Kushanas and their commerce, arts, and monuments and Part 5 describes the better known time of the Guptas 300-50 BCE. Six notable specialists have cooperated in the production of this book. With sketch maps, bibliography and index.)

038943
Angkor Explorer. Singh, Vijay. Cm. 2005. pb $15.20 (This foldout guide to Angkor is packed with both maps and information. Besides a large temple location map, there is a simple map of Siem Reap Town showing hotels and restaurants, maps of ancient Southeast Asia and layout plans of Banteay Srei, Ta Prohm, Preah Khan, Angkor Wat and Bayon. Captioned inset colour photographs introduce these and other key temples. There is also a chronology of kings and temples of the Angkorian period.)

038942
Spiritual Journey To Banteay Srei, A: The Sacred Temple Of Shri Tribhuvan Maheshwar. Singh, Vijay. Cm. 2004. 40pp. pb $8.40 (The Hindu temple of Banteay Srei, founded in 967AD is 30km from Angkor Wat. This pocketbook describes the temple and its architecture and includes 60 photographs, layout plans and a discussion of the enduring spiritual message that the temple still conveys to the visitor or devotee. With glossary and bibliography.)

038713
History Of Indonesia, The. Drakeley, Steven. Us. 2005. 201pp. hc $47.25 (The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations series is written for the pre-university student or general reader. The volume on Indonesia tracks the vast country’s multifaceted history from pre-historic times (the fossilised Java Man lived over a million years ago) through its early and colonial periods to the 1945 proclamation of independence, the Sukarno Era (1945-67), the Soeharto Era (1966-98) and then Indonesia after Soeharto. With timeline, glossary, biographical summaries, bibliographic essay and index.)

037793
History Of Lanna. Ongsakul, Sarassawadee. Th. 2005. 328pp. pb $42.00 (This is a substantially revised edition of the author’s 1986 complete history of the Lan Na Kingdom of Northern Thailand. There is preliminary discussion of early records and the city states which pre-existed in the 13th century Lan Na Kingdom. Its history is traced through periods under Burmese Rule (1558-1774), as a tributary state of Siam (1774-1899), and contact with imperial powers, and Lan Na’s final unification with Bangkok under the Thai monarchy. With notes in Thai, bibliography of Thai and English material, glossary and index in English.)

037410
Ancient Pagan: Buddhist Plain Of Merit. Stadtner, Donald M.; Michael Freeman (photo.). Th. 2005. 286pp. pb $51.45 (Pagan is the largest and most resplendent centre of Buddhist art in the ancient world. Nearly 3000 brick monuments – temples, stupas and monasteries – dot the landscape up and down the banks of the Irrawaddy as far as the eye can see. Construction at Pagan peaked between the 11th and 13th centuries when the city was home to the country’s kings and its chief religious personalities. The author presents 33 of these monuments, each with a unique story to tell about Pagan. He delves into the history and architecture of each monument and the treasure-trove of Buddhist art that lays within its walls, and in doing so he paints a larger picture of the development of Pagan’s monuments, painting and sculpture. This lushly illustrated volume also includes suggested hotels and activities for visitors, a glossary and an index.

Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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